Brazil's electoral court to discuss Lula candidacy Friday afternoon

03 September, 2018, 20:56 | Author: Lucy Floyd
  • Brazil's electoral court to discuss Lula candidacy Friday afternoon

Fernando Haddad, former mayor of Sao Paulo", he said.

Capping a hearing that stretched overnight, Supreme Electoral Tribunal judges ruled 6-1 that Lula, 72, who registered weeks ago and ascended to first in polling, was not eligible to run in October.

"There is no margin here for the electoral court to make any other evaluation but the one showing there is a conviction, and that conviction matters in the candidate's eligibility", Barroso said. The statement was released after most TSE ministers chose to ignore a decision by the United Nations Human Rights Committee and deprive former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of his right to run as a presidential candidate for the upcoming elections.

Da Silva was wildly popular as president of Latin America's largest nation between 2003 and 2010. He left office with a 90% approval rating, after his policies helped to lift millions of Brazilians out of poverty. US President Barack Obama once called him the "most popular politician on earth".

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Justice Barroso said the Workers' Party should replace da Silva within 10 days, and that he should not appear as a presidential candidate in free airtime that is given to political parties on nationwide TV and radio starting on Saturday.

Judges voted against his running in October's ballot by a majority of six votes to one in the seven-member court.

Polls show tepid support for the vice presidential running mate Haddad's bid, but the party hopes Lula's popularity could boost the former mayor's hopes.

The former leader's attorneys still hope to get the ban overturned by appealing the decision before Brazil's supreme court.

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While justices were debating, the Workers' Party put out ads on its social media channels featuring da Silva, holding to a strategy to keep the former president front and centre as long as possible.

"We have a clearer picture that Lula's candidacy is doomed", said David Fleischer, a politics professor at the University of Brasilia. Yet, running a campaign largely from his jail cell, he has been able to capture almost 40 percent of prospective votes for October's presidential elections, according to the latest polls. His closest contender is the far-right former general Jair Bolsonaro on 19 percent.

Da Silva's lawyers complained the court was rushing a decision because they submitted their defense only on Thursday and noted that the court rarely holds sessions on Fridays.

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